What Happens If I Get a Cavity?

Did you know that over 90% of adults have had cavities in their permanent teeth and over 40% of children have had cavities in their primary teeth? This is obviously a very common oral issue, but it should not be taken lightly. It is so important that you do not let your cavities go untreated. So, what exactly are cavities anyway and what can Dr. Patel do for you if you have one?

What Are Cavities?

Cavities, scientifically known as dental caries, are permanently damaged areas of our teeth. This is the result of certain types of bacteria found in the mouth that produce acid from the sugars and starches that linger around after we eat. This acid by-product dissolves your tooth’s enamel, its outer protective layer. Once the enamel is weakened, small decayed holes (or cavities) can develop in the teeth. If left untreated, this decay can spread deeper inside your tooth, eventually causing infection, and even spread to neighboring teeth. Teeth afflicted by severely advanced decay have to be extracted to protect your oral health, so it’s best to nip decay in the bud when it’s only a small cavity.

Aerial view of a plate of donuts with pink, brown, green, and white icing with lots of sugar

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Keep up with excellent oral hygiene practices to protect your teeth from dental decay. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoridated toothpaste, brush your tongue every day, and floss at least once a day. Remember that a well-balanced and nutritious diet is critical too. Sugars and starches are the main cavity culprits, so limit your intake of prepackaged food with added sugar, sweet treats, and sugary beverages. Moreover, come in to Jackson Smiles Family Dentistry every six months to see our dental team for cleanings and checkups. We’ll be able to check your teeth for cavities so they can be promptly treated to keep your mouth healthy.

How Are Cavities Treated?

Treatment can vary depending on the severity of the cavity you have. The most commonly used treatment is a composite dental filling, a tooth-colored material we use to strengthen your tooth and prevent further decay after we’ve cleaned out the cavity. However, this treatment is for cavities in their earliest stages. For more extensive decay that has reached the soft bundle of nerves and blood vessels in your tooth’s inner pulp, you’ll need root canal therapy and a dental crown to restore full function to your tooth. If your tooth is beyond repair, it will need to be extracted.

Don’t Leave Decay Untreated!

It can be difficult to detect a cavity at home, but Dr. Patel is skilled at identifying decay so be sure to make biannual dental visits a priority. Contact our office to schedule your next checkup.

We can confirm your teeth are strong & healthy!

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